A view of the world from I‑280: Silicon Valley’s parody of the iconic New Yorker cover

By PACIFIC VENTURES, 1984 
£9,500
£7,600

Silicon Valley.

America North America
  • Author: PACIFIC VENTURES
  • Publication place: [California]
  • Publisher: Pacific Ventures
  • Publication date: 1984.
  • Physical description: Colour printed poster laid down on foamcore.
  • Dimensions: 912 by 610mm. (36 by 24 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 14949

Notes

A view of Silicon valley in its early days, parodying Saul Steinberg’s classic New Yorker cover, View of the World from 9th Avenue”.

This view shows Silicon Valley, and the offices of its important technology companies, looming large in the foreground. Among the companies named are Apple, Hewlett Packard, and Intel. As the view recedes across San Francisco bay, there is a humorously foreshortened view of North America, with much smaller views of Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, New York, and Boston (with, of course, MIT). North Carolina and Texas’ computer industry centres are competitively nodded at as well, with Piedmont, NC’s Research Triangle and Austin’s Silicon Gulch both shown. Further in the distance is the Atlantic Ocean, with France and Germany shown as long islands, followed by the Pacific Ocean, culminating in Japan. Silicon Valley” is written at the top of the image in the New Yorker’s instantly recognisable font. By appropriating Steinberg’s image, a self-aware joke about New York City’s self-centredness, Silicon Valley lays claim to its own importance in the world. Funnily enough, they weren’t entirely wrong, as the next few decades of innovation and economic success would prove.

The company behind this image, Pacific Ventures, appears to have been a venture capital firm in the area that was involved in the technology sector. However, we have been unable to find any mention of a Pacific Ventures operating at this time in Silicon Valley, though there was a explosion of such companies in the area following Apple’s 1980 IPO. Nonetheless, the statement behind this image would have served a Silicon Valley based investment firm well.

Saul Steinberg’s View of the World from 9th Avenue” appeared on the cover of the New Yorker in March 1976. It has since become one of the most popular and recognisable covers in the magazine’s history, and it spawned countless parodies as every city from Boston to Omaha clamoured to make a version of their own. Steinberg is quoted in a 2001 New York Times article as having said that, if he had received the proper royalties, ” I could have retired on this painting.”